SAN FRANCISCO — Warriors owner Joe Lacob hears the chatter, he sees your tweets. He knows the voice of the fans and the media, he knows what is being said on TV and on the radio. And he must feel pretty validated with the 2021-22 Warriors.
He does. He will let you know and rightly so.
The Warriors faced many questions throughout the offseason, from the NBA draft to the trade market and free agency. After failing to qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season, what would be the Warriors’ next move? They had two lottery choices, although the consensus was that at least one would be in motion. Everyone on the outside thought the front office needed to make winning moves with the core Warriors on the other side of 30, and the idea that the rest of the league was catching up.
But Lacob and many others maintained their belief that the Warriors, who continue to be led by Steph Curry (34), Klay Thompson (32) and Draymond Green (32), were still at the peak of their powers . and could compete for championships in the present while building the bridge to the young Dubs’ future in Jordan Poole (22) and James Wiseman (21) before drafting Jonathan Kuminga (19) and Moses Moody (19) ). ).
As he sat on the Chase Center podium on Monday with his Warriors days away from hosting the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals, Lacob might as well have congratulated himself. He was right.
“I know that we — I, [general manager Bob Myers], the organization — got criticism from some people that we should trade all the draft coins we have to get another great player or whatever,” Lacob told reporters on Monday. “I was very adamant about it, as is Bob. This was not the path we were following.
“We want to be good for a long time, we want to be great for a long time.”
Some compared him to the San Antonio Spurs, and the Warriors didn’t shy away from their admiration for the franchise. But the Warrior Way has brought many victories for a long time now. It’s hard to argue against.
Just as it’s been hard to argue too much with the majority of Lacob’s decisions, as well as Myers and others.
This season, as Lacob alluded to, success was always going to rest on the shoulders of Curry, Thompson and Green, as it always has. Then it trickles down to Andrew Wiggins, Poole, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr. and other actors. The higher your cap relative to your stars, the more room there is for a higher spike from surrounding players.
That’s what the Warriors have been able to do in the past with players like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa and many more. Only this time, two 19-year-olds are getting important minutes on the biggest stage as the Warriors still await the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft from just two years ago.
As Lacob waits to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the fourth time, he stands inside his shining prize to San Francisco and the rest of the world. By the time Lacob, Peter Guber and a group of investors agreed to buy the Warriors from Chris Cohan for $450 million in July 2010, they were considering a future move from Oakland to San Francisco. The Chase Center opened in 2019, and as of October 2021, Forbes valued the Warriors at $5.6 billion.
From inside Chase Center to outside Thrive City, Lacob’s vision is coming true with the Warriors back to their winning ways.
“Personally, I’m just as proud of Chase Center — personally, now — as I am this team,” Lacob said. “I can’t even tell you how hard it was to do it. It took seven years, and in this city it’s probably harder than any other city to do it. And as you know, it’s all been heckled, it’s all been private money. Which, to be honest with you, I’m proud of. We haven’t had to take money out of the police and the fire department and so many of social services, and I think we’re all proud of that.
“What does it look like? I think it looks awesome. I love it. Every night I get chills when I walk into the arena. I literally get chills. I love it. I love basketball, I’ve loved my whole life.”
Whether it’s Curry, Green, other players or coach Steve Kerr, subtle messages this season have been delivered to the fan base while preaching patience. This is a relatively new building. Creating an identity takes time.
The Chase Center versus Oracle Arena debate plays out, and like everything else, winning heals everything.
“For 50 years I’ve been to games. I’ve been to every arena in the world. And to me, there’s no better arena in the world than this one, Chase Center. He just need experiences, like this one, to give it that story Oracle had or some place like [Madison Square Garden]at least a long time ago anyway.
“I think that’s what’s great. We love this building. Our players love this building, our partners love this building and it shows pretty well.”
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Lacob grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, as a Celtics fan until he was 13 and the family moved to Anaheim, where he was now surrounded by Los Angeles Lakers fans. When Lacob took over ownership of the Warriors, he reportedly said he wanted Golden State to look like the Celtics and Lakers, if not better.
That’s what he knew, he pursued nothing less than greatness. The Warriors have been the top team lately, but when Lacob is reminded that the Celtics have won 17 championships, his eyes and ears perk up as if his competitiveness is about to burst from his body.
He wants what they have, he wants more. To be great today, tomorrow and day after day for years to come.
“That’s our goal,” Lacob said. “Our goal is to be consistently very good at fighting for a title. Otherwise, there’s no point in doing that.”
After more than 15 minutes of media encounters, Lacob gives Boston the upper hand in the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, while also adding his own Warriors story.
“I’m going to give you a stat that I think is the most incredible stat,” Lacob says. “The Celtics are great. Jerry Buss owned the Lakers for 33 years. Does anyone know how many Finals he made in 33 years? Sixteen out of 33 years. Now this is remarkable.
“We’ve now done six in 12 years. So I like the 50% rate. If we’re going to continue, I don’t know.
“But I’m sure I’ll try.”
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